Littleton public library sees high traffic of Coloradans wanting KN95 masks

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Posted at 5:30 PM, Jan 19, 2022

LITTLETON, Colo. — One day after the state announced it would give out KN95 masks to a host of different sites for distribution, it's backtracking on where those high quality masks are available.

On Tuesday, the state said it would give KN95s to places like fire stations, public libraries, VFWs, community centers, even YMCAs.

However, by Wednesday morning there had been a change.

Fire stations like West Metro Fire, and Thornton Fire Departments took to Twitter to tell Coloradans they were not distribution sites. Denver Fire said they also didn't have masks for distribution yet.

It was a different story at some public libraries throughout the Front Range.

Bemis Public Library in Littleton got its shipment of KN95 masks and surgical masks on Tuesday. They decided to begin giving them out Wednesday morning.

"It was a little bit of a surprise. We didn't know exactly when they were coming. They were ordered last week, but we're happy to have them," said Kelli Narde, the director of culture and media services with the City of Littleton.

Narde said Bemis Public Library got 1,000 KN95 masks and 4,000 surgical masks, which is half of what they asked for.

"The state librarian sent an application form to all the public libraries in Colorado and let those libraries choose what quantity they would like to order," Narde said.

Inquiries from Coloradans wanting the high quality masks started coming into Bemis Public Library Tuesday.

Phone calls continued into Wednesday morning, with people stopping in to pick up the masks as soon as the library opened.

Todd Withrow was one of the many who showed up early, but it wasn't his first stop.

"We saw it on the news last night. My wife asked me if I could come in and get them," Withrow said. "We were worried. My wife said, 'Can you go?' and, at first, she sent me to a fire station, and I showed up and they're like, 'No.' So, then I came to the library."

Aurora Public Library also got its shipment of masks on Tuesday but opted to wait a day and plan out distribution. They received 4,000 KN95 masks to share between all of their branches.

One thousand of those masks will be available at its Central Library, while 600 will be available at its Hoffman Heights, Martin Luther King Jr., Mission Viejo, Iliff Square and Tallyn's Ranch branches.

They will begin distribution on Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. and plan to post on social media once they run out of the masks.

Denver Public Library was also listed on the state KN95 mask distribution site, but a spokesperson said early Wednesday morning they "do not have masks for public distribution." Later in the day, the spokesperson added that Denver Public Library would not be a distribution center and were asking the state remove them from the distribution list.